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So then why the first dollars?



Why I had to get the 1983 note too...

So, some people that watch my set listings (why would you do that, you creepers... O.o joking) or the Zimbabwe bank note categories might have noticed that I added a registry set for the pre-hyperinflation Zimbabwe dollars and added a couple of $20 notes in there, the 1983 and the 1994. Depending on how curious you are you might have wondered why I added this set and bought these notes when I've been spending all this time talking about wanting the Trillion Series. Well... even if you didn't check or notice any of those things I want to talk about it anyway so I'm going to.

I guess the honest answer is that I saw them being offered for sale by the same merchant I've been buying all the other Zimbabwe notes from and I wanted them because I thought they'd go well with the Trillion series notes in a complimentary way. Digging a little deeper though...

I was really surprised in reading and learning about the history of the Zimbabwe dollar to find that, when it was introduced in 1980 to replace the Rhodeisan dollar, it was initially worth MORE than a US dollar. The initial conversion rate was Z$1:US$1.47. Granted, it was probably overvalued based on fundamentals at the time it was introduced and almost immediately it started coming down fast, but it's interesting to note that this currency that was hyper-inflated to death in just 29 years started out worth more than the world reserve currency, and realizing that interesting fact made me want some notes from that period as part of this "narrative-in-the-form-of-notes" that I'm wanting to build for a discussion I hope to have with my son in 10 or so years that he'll probably have zero interest in listening to. Doesn't matter -- I'll glue him to the chair if I have to...

It happens that, from what I've been able to read/find, 1983 was the year that the US$ and the Z$ had a 1:1 exchange rate (albeit briefly) and 1997 was the year the exchange rate hit 10:1 -- a 90% loss of value in just 14 years, with the hyperinflationary period still 9 years away. Sadly they don't have 1997 dated bills but they did have the 1994 bills and 1983's so I got what I could. ?

The key to getting the 1983 and 1994 notes ended up being patience. When I first saw them offer for sale they were listing for $70 each. I wanted the notes but that was just more than I was really happy paying for them. Apparently I wasn't alone in that feeling because they must not have been selling. The merchant dropped the price on them to $40 each. At that point I was willing to buy them. I can't attest as to whether or not that was a "good" price, but this was the only person I knew of that was selling these notes PMG graded, I wanted them, and I was finally okay with that price.



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